Our seemingly infinite patience is about to pay off. The off season in the Verizon IndyCar Series has plodded along far too long. St. Pete this coming weekend should begin to quench our appetites. For those unable to spring break it to the Florida gulf coast IndyCar’s cherry picking primary broadcasting partner will usher in the new season on over-the-air television via (ESPN on) ABC. It is largely uncertain whether the event is being adequately promoted. Many of us do not watch ESPN or ABC much anymore.
If the past is any indication this race ought to be compelling despite it being contested on a temporary street circuit. Ever since IndyCar began tumbling itself down the slippery slope of less popular, lower rated non-ovals in 2005 to its current 70% non-oval orientation favored by the formula wannabees currently occupying and managing the discipline, the St. Pete event has become a nice bookend along with Long Beach. Predictably the venue that provided IndyCar fans with the most exciting race in the last few decades, Fontana, is absent. Phoenix, however, has returned. Despite its recent NASCAR-ization remodel that robbed it of its unique character there is genuine enthusiasm by participants and fans alike this time around. Tickets for out there are booked by the Disciple party.
If the past few seasons are any indication the racing on just about any circuit should be stellar. Nearly continuous micromanagement of specs aside the competition and rules making cast of characters are mostly different this year. Last year during May in the run-up to the Indianapolis 500 oval aero kits were tried for the first time. Cars that began going airborne whenever they got backward caused a significant amount of frayed nerves and bad publicity.
The 100th running of the 500 is set up to be an historic event but mistakes could be repeated. Experimentation with skid plates to prevent airborne adventures has not gone as planned and does not have the complete support of those behind wheels. Since the stage this year is much bigger it would be nice to assume the brain trust will figure it all out prior to May. The clock is ticking.
For many squatting internet haters none of it will matter. Almost any topic devolves to dismissal of anything Dallara manufactures as ‘crapwagons.’ Instead of offering intelligent solutions to mostly self-perceived issues the loudest of the typists actually believe the way to go is simply to locate as many 25 year old Reynards as possible, dust them off, drop in a Cosworth and go racing. The internet is a great source for comedy.
Personally Dallara and all the other entities currently re-making Speedway in an admirable gentrification effort must be commended. Efforts of the Speedway Redevelopment folks in conjunction with nearly continuous improvements being undertaken once again at the Brickyard are outstanding.
We are looking forward to this weekend, May and another great IndyCar season!